Why was a Pakistani murder suspect allowed into this country, and why wasn’t he deported after his conviction? Instead, the Feds paid him close to 100k to be an “informant.”
Shahed “Malik” Hussain, whose undercover work for the FBI has been controversial, testified over the course of several weeks during the ongoing trial of four Newburgh men standing trial for a terrorism plot. Hussain’s role in that sting operation came under fire recently from defense attorneys who, during their cross-examinations of the government’s star witness, pried at Hussain’s finances, conflicting statements, murky background and his previously unknown criminal history in Pakistan. The case is on schedule for closing arguments this week. Meanwhile, lawyers for two Albany men convicted in 2006 of money laundering in support of terrorism said they are closely examining whether Hussain’s testimony in the Newburgh case is in conflict with his testimony at the trial in Albany four years ago. They say the government never disclosed the fact Hussain had been arrested twice for murder in Pakistan. The government said they couldn’t confirm any details, but haven’t said what they actually knew in 2006.
EXCLUSIVE – Owner of limousine company involved in horror crash is a former FBI informant who was paid $96,000 to go undercover to expose terror plots after fleeing to the US from Pakistan where he’d been accused of murder
- Shahed Hussain is the owner of Prestige Limousines, also known as Hasy Limos
- It was one of his cars that crashed in upstate New York on Saturday, killing 20
- The vehicle failed a safety inspection last month and the company has had four others taken off the road
- Hussain, who also goes by ‘Malik’, worked as an informant for the FBI after being caught running a DMV scam where he helped test takers cheat
- In 2007, he started going undercover in mosques in Newburgh, New York, to record conversations with alleged terrorists
Shahed Hussain, 62, is the owner of Prestige Limousines, the company involved in Saturday’s crash
The owner of the limousine company behind Saturday’s horror crash which killed 20 people is a former FBI informant who went undercover to record alleged terrorists in mosques after fleeing to the US from Pakistan in the 1990s where he’d been accused of murder, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Shahed Hussain, 62, is named as the owner of Prestige Limousines, aka Hasy Limos and Saratoga Luxury Limousine, in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration documents.
In the last two years, the company has had at least four cars pulled out of service because they failed safety inspections.
The most recent was the modified 2001 Ford Excursion limousine which was carrying 17 passengers when driver Scott Lisinicchia crashed on Saturday, killing himself, all those on board and two pedestrians in the parking lot he came screeching into after running a stop sign in Schoharie, New York.
Ford has confirmed to DailyMail.com that if never manufactured the vehicles in limousine form so the one operated by Prestige had to have been modified unofficially.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that the company was now under investigation and is no longer allowed to operate.
Despite repeated attempts to make contact with Hussain, he has not commented on the tragedy and the company’s websites are now disabled.
But 2010 court documents from the terrorism trials of four men who plotted to blow up the synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down planes coming out of Newburgh airbase reveal Hussain’s past ties to the FBI.
In 2002, he convinced the bureau to take him on after being caught running a dangerous DMV scan which helped prospective drivers cheat on their tests.
Hussain arrived in the United States in 1994 after fleeing his native Pakistan where he had been arrested for murder.
After his father bribed local police to let him go, Hussain fled the country, using a British passport to leave Pakistan, enter Moscow and then travel to Mexico.
From Mexico, he entered the US through El Paso in Texas. From there, he traveled to Albany.
He is shown in footage obtained while he worked as an informant in the DMV after being caught running a scam where he secured unqualified drivers licenses for a fee
Hussain is pictured in other undercover footage showing a rocket launcher to one of four men who were convicted on terror charges. He served as an informant for the FBI after being caught running a DMV scam
Hussain then contacted an immigration lawyer who was then able to get him legal status by applying for political asylum. It enabled him to start working for the DMV where he was a translator.
There, he started a racket where he offered prospective drivers guaranteed pass-marks in their road tests or safety quizzes for a fee by ensuring they went to corrupt examiners.
In 2002, the FBI arrested him for the scam.
Rather than go to jail, he took a plea deal which involved him working as a confidential informant and he spent the next several years recording other conversations in the DMV for their benefit, incriminating his friends and colleagues.
Four years later, after filing bankruptcy and buying his son an Audi with money he claimed he’d been given by Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, he bought the hotel in Gansevoort which became the Crest Inn.
He then was put to work by the FBI to infiltrate mosques, specifically in Newburgh, New York, and look for what he described as ‘radicals’. The FBI paid him a salary of $96,000 for the work.
James Cromitie (left) and David Williams (right) were both convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2010 after Hussain recorded them plotting to blow up two Bronx synagogues
Onta Williams, a third suspect, was also jailed as was Laguerre Payen (not pictured). Their defense was entrapment; they said Hussain set up the plot and put it in motion by manipulating them
‘He was sent there per a number of reasons regarding other FBI investigations but I always ask him to keep his ears open if he heard individual speaking radically, including everyone has free rights to speech, but if it’s regarding possible threats, I wanted that information,’ FBI Agent Robert Fueller testified.
His work in the Newburgh mosques, particularly the Masjid al-Ikhlas led, in part to the arrests of James Comitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen.
They plotted to plant bombs at synagogues in the Bronx – Riverdale Temple and nearby Riverdale Jewish Center – and they also plotted to shoot down military planes at Stewart Air National Guard Base.
The three men were arrested when Hussain drove them to the Riverdale mosque with explosives. Authorities were waiting for them.
However valuable his undercover work was, he came under scrutiny as a witness and reliable informant during the trial when it was suggested he had turned off his recording equipment during crucial moments of conversation with the suspects.
This is the motel Hussain runs in Gansevoort, New York, outside Saratoga Springs. He bought it in 2006 while working as an informant for the FBI
He also failed to disclose to the FBI that he was the beneficiary of a $500,000 trust fund in Pakistan while collecting a salary from the bureau and claiming bankruptcy.
There were also claims of entrapment and even the judge who convicted the four men ruled in her verdict that Hussain’s behavior as an informant was ‘troubling’.He was sent there per a number of reasons regarding other FBI investigations but I always ask him to keep his ears open if he heard individual speaking radically, including everyone has free rights to speech, but if it’s regarding possible threats, I wanted that information
He met Comitie first and then together they recruited the three others. Hussain, who was known also as Shahed Malik, was not at the motel in Gansevoort on Monday.
A staff member told DailyMail.com she had never heard of Shahed Hussain, instead saying: ‘The people that run this place are called Malik. I’ve never even met them either.
‘There are certainly no limos run out of here. We’re just here to collect the money and stop the guests killing each other,’ she said.
Another person told The New York Post that the limousine company did used to operate out of the hotel’s parking lot but said it moved 18 months ago.
‘From what I’m told, they operated out of the back parking lot. They don’t operate here anymore,’ Arnie Cornett said.
He added that state police went to the hotel on Sunday night looking for Hussain to talk to him.
Cornett claimed he lives in Dubai.
Hussain’s last known address is a massive $1.8 million home set on more than three acres on a quiet cul-de-sac in prosperous Loudonville close to Albany.
A pile of trash, that a neighbor said has been there since last Monday, stands rain-soaked at the end of the drive.
The six-bedroom, 10,000 sq. ft. yellow clapboard home boasts five full and four half bathrooms and comes with a four-car garage and its own tennis court and sauna. It now sits empty with not a stick of furniture inside.
The water in the large indoor pool is discolored from stagnation.
The limousine in Saturday’s crash failed a safety inspection a month ago and its driver did not have a license to carry commercial passengers
It was at this home that Hussain’s lawyers, Tabner, Ryan & Keniry, successfully served him papers earlier this year in a $32,000 suit. The law firm claimed it had been chasing him for the money for eight years.
The Loudonville neighbor said the family rented the home and he had heard that they have now moved abroad.
Records reveal that he has been sued multiple times, including once by his own lawyer.
Hussain has been involved in dozens of lawsuits in Albany County going back to 1997, records show.
In most cases he eventually paid up after dragging the matter out for years.
In 2016 Hussain was sued by local law firm Tabner, Ryan and Keniry over unpaid bills which escalated to $42,139 including interest before Hussain finally paid them off in April this year.
He paid $1,757 to the Memorial Hospital in Albany after it sued him and $35,000 to a company called Klein Candy Co after it took him to court.
Others who have sued Hussain include the Albany based Proskin Law Firm, a mini mart, the New York state liquor board and Western Union financial services
Hussain has changed the names of his businesses frequently and his companies include Wonderland Tire Co, Luxury Taxi, H A Hospitality, Martin’s Bicycle, Dream Enterprises
Hussain also has several addresses listed on the lawsuits, some of which are different to his addresses on his public records profile.
One of the many addresses the limousine company is listed to is the same Albany address Hussain gave when he was caught in his DMV scam in 2002.
The Crest Inn — which has a garish purple statue of a horse outside — gets panned online. ‘Can’t believe this place is open,’ one reviewer said on Trip Advisor, while another simply said: ‘Hazardous Inn.’
Of 29 reviewers, all but four gave the Crest the lowest grade of ‘terrible.’ Paula C. from Boston wrote: ‘this place was absolutely disgusting. horrible rooms, not clean, and cock roaches!!! no shampoo, no iron.’
The only positive review, going back to 2012 was from Joseph B of Sutton, Massachusetts, who headed his review ‘Not a Dump,’ and called the place ‘this quaint 1960’s hotel.’
Even he admitted there was no light in his bathroom. ‘I cannot believe that people are so disgusted with this place,’ he wrote.
On Monday, Governor Cuomo said Hussain had ‘no business’ putting it on the road.
‘The owner of the company had no business putting a failed vehicle on the road.I think the owner of Prestige has a lot of questions to answer,’ he said.
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